Nutrition and Dietetics Major


Human Nutrition students

Didactic Program in Dietetics

The Dietetics emphasis, also known as the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), at Seattle Pacific University provides you with the coursework required to become a registered dietitian (RD).

If you intend to become a registered dietitian, after completing the DPD and your baccalaureate degree, you must also complete a dietetic internship and take an exam offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

"Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at Seattle Pacific University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN."

Additional information on educational requirements and the RD credential can be found from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A list of dietetic internships, (DIs), is also available on this page.

Appointments to dietetic internships are awarded on a competitive basis, and mostprograms use D&D Digital, a national computer matching program. Due to a shortage of dietetic internships nationwide, currently approximately 50 percent of applicants are accepted into a DI. 

If you plan to become a registered dietitian (RDN), note that eligibility and procedures for certification/licensure vary from state to state. Further, requirements for certification/licensure can change without notice.

The state professional licensing boards make the ultimate decision as to whether or not an individual will be eligible for licensure based on the rules and regulations in place at the time the individual submits their application for licensure. Find information here about certification/licensure in the state where you intend to practice your profession.

Mission, goals, and objectives

The mission of the Seattle Pacific University’s Didactic program in Dietetics is to prepare students to engage the culture and offer solutions to nutrition problems faced by individuals, families, and communities. Through this major’s emphasis, students are prepared to enter a dietetic internship, graduate school, and/or employment.

Program goal 1

The program will prepare competent graduates who are accepted into DI programs, the professional arena, and/or graduate study programs.


  • At least 80 percent of program students complete program/degree requirements within six years (150% of the program length).
    • For students matriculating at SPU as freshmen, this is 18 terms (six academic years; four years is the time planned for completion). For transfer and post-baccalaureate students this is nine quarters (three academic years; two years is the time planned for completion).
  • Sixty percent of graduates apply to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
  • Sixty percent of program graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
  • The program's one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80 percent.
  • At least 75 percent of internship directors will rate their academic preparation as satisfactory or higher.
  • At least 75 percent of graduates will rate the academic preparation of interns from SPU as satisfactory or higher.
  • At least 80 percent of students will rate their DPD academic advising as satisfactory or higher.
  • Fifty percent of students who opt to not apply to a dietetic internship or are not accepted into an internship will attain employment in a food and nutrition-related field, or will enroll in graduate education.

Program goal 2

The program will prepare graduates to participate in professional, leadership, and community service activities.


  • At least 75 percent of graduates will participate in professional, leadership, or community service activities.

    Degree requirements

    To obtain the Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition with the emphasis in dietetics, students must complete 180 credits, including 60 upper division credits. Students must complete the Common Curriculum, the Exploratory Curriculum, and all major requirements for the dietetics specialization. Other requirements include satisfactory completion of math, writing, and foreign language competencies.

    Dietetics Major Requirements

    Major requirements and suggested course sequencing for the dietetics emphasis may be found in the undergraduate course catalog. All DPD courses follow the academic calendar published annually by the university.

    Transfer Students

    Students seeking to transfer to the DPD program may have any relevant courses reviewed by the DPD Director upon transfer. See the Dietetics Handbook for more information on the review process. 

    Post-Baccalaureate and International Equivalency

    Information on the non-degree DPD pathway for post-baccalaureate students and students seeking international equivalency can be found in the DPD for Non-Degree Students page and the Dietetics Handbook.

    Entering the Major

    This program has a competitive application process.  Consult the undergraduate catalog for complete information on how and when to apply to this program, and what you must do to complete it.

    Program costs

    All student costs, including tuition, other fees, and opportunities for financial aid are published in the Undergraduate Catalog.

    Complete program information

    View complete information about the DPD program in the Dietetics Handbook (PDF).

    Faculty Contact

    Catalina Vlad-Ortiz

    Instructor of Nutrition; Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics
    MS, Eastern Illinois University

    Phone: 206-281-2763
    Office: Peterson Hall 211

    SPU students on campus

    Program outcomes

    Program outcomes include:

    • Five-year internship acceptance rates are 77%.
    • The five-year RD first-time exam pass rate is 90.74% — 84th percentile nationally.

    Want other program outcomes? Contact program director, Catalina Vlad-Ortiz, MEd, MS, RD, CD, at

    Dietetics Handbook

    View complete information about the DPD program in the Dietetics Handbook (PDF)

    Dietetics accreditation

    Seattle Pacific University's Didactic program in Dietetics (DPD) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

    Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics

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